Single Idea 5872

[catalogued under 23. Ethics / C. Virtue Theory / 1. Virtue Theory / b. Basis of virtue]

Full Idea

Excellence is the best disposition, state or capacity of anything that has some employment or function; this is evident from induction. For example, a cloak has an excellence - and a certain function and employment also; its best state is its excellence.


'Excellence' is the Greek word 'areté', which also means 'virtue', including moral virtue

Gist of Idea

Excellence is the best state of anything (like a cloak) which has an employment or function


Aristotle (Eudemian Ethics [c.333 BCE], 1219a02)

Book Reference

Aristotle: 'Eudemian Ethics I,II and VIII', ed/tr. Woods,Michael [OUP 1992], p.12

A Reaction

'Employment' will be an assigned function, and 'function' will be a natural or intrinsic function, I presume. This is a nice clear illustration of the fact that for Aristotle virtue runs continuously from people to cloaks. See Idea 1663, though.

Related Idea

Idea 1663 By 'areté' Socrates means just what we mean by moral virtue [Vlastos on Socrates]